Lush new savoury addition to Plymouth Market sends hearts racing

Pasties – everyone has their favourite and Plymouth has so many of the savoury beauties to offer.

The scent of freshly baked medium steaks makes up part of the complex cocktail of aromas flooding the streets of town.

The most recent addition to the pasty plethora is The Pilgrim Shack.

It’s based in Plymouth Market, the same stall Pilgrim Pasties occupied before it became Pilgrim Pastries.

Marie Seccombe is all too familiar with the old tenant. She’s worked in the factory which made Pilgrim Pasties branded delights.

Dicing, rolling, crimping. Nobody knows this product better than she does. Which is handy, because that’s what she sells.

The 56-year-old took over the shack’s assets a few weeks before lockdown, along with business partner Lesley Allen, who also worked for Pilgrim.

Marie said: “The day we got told by the liquidators we were closing, that was it.

“I’d been down here two weeks earlier for Pilgrim Pasties. I’d come out of the factory to give them a hand.

“I was looking for work. Lesley Allen worked in the office so she knew the paperwork side of it. I worked in the factory so I could explain the recipe.

“I’ve done this sort of work before. I used to work for Mutley’s Café. I left there after 10 years and went to Warrens at Derriford.”

The Pilgrim Shack is a nod towards the pasty stall’s old occupier

Marie’s clearly very experienced in both sides of the pastry process, and it’s in her blood.

Before Porkies Cafe in Whitleigh was run by the legendary Dave Griffiths, it was Kate’s Cafe, owned by Marie’s mum.

She has her own place now, The Pilgrim Shack.

Its name is a reference to the Mayflower 400 commemorations which have been delayed.

It’s also a nod to her former employers who she loved working for, but she wants it known that this business is its own entity.

She said: “People still say it’s the old Pilgrim but it’s not, we’re new.

“What we want to tell people is, we’re not Pilgrim, we’re not the same company, and we are independent now.

“This is our venture, me and Les. They supply us the pasties, but everything else is down to us.”

And it seems to be working since they’ve resumed after lockdown.

They’re feeling at home as part of the ‘family’ that is Plymouth Market and people are as loyal as they were before to Pilgrim Pasties.

If only you could smell photographs

Marie continued: “Customers are happy. We’re trying to supply for them. There’s a woman who comes in on Tuesday for her pies. We get them in extra.

“We’ve given samples out and had new customers. All your Plymouth Argyle fans come in, they know we’re here.

“We’re lucky, unlike some new companies, because they had a good name before.

“We’ve got one who comes from Totnes, another who comes from Torquay. A couple who come down every month from Bristol to collect pasties.

“They like the market, but also want to take back pasties, they came in yesterday.”

Now able to take card payments, The Pilgrim Shack issued this guarantee.

“It’s there and fresh each day. If they don’t sell, they’re reduced the next day. I don’t want it two or three days old, you can taste it.”

Plymouth Live